The Thriller Zone

On today’s 175th Episode of The Thriller Zone, now in our 6th Season, we’re happy to invite Don Winslow into our home for a face-to-face interview that, as you’ll quickly notice, is truly a one of a kind opportunity for this host, and for you as an audience member.

Don, as you may know, is a renowned thriller writer who has decades of experience as a seasoned writer, creating one hit after another. Today, Don discusses his journey as an author and the challenges he faced in the publishing industry. 

Despite initial rejections and being labeled a cult writer, Winslow persevered and eventually achieved success. He credits his partnership with agent Shane Salerno as a turning point in his career. Together, they started a rebellion against the limitations imposed by publishers and Hollywood. 

In our in-depth conversation, Winslow reflects on the impact of his mother, a librarian, who instilled in him a love for books and the belief that he could achieve anything. He also shares his thoughts on retirement and the future of the publishing industry. 

Digging deeper and opening up, Don reveals the evolution of storytelling and the impact of technology and AI on the industry. He emphasizes the authenticity of human communication and the importance of bringing heart and soul to writing. 

As our show begins to wrap, Don allows us an inside peek, as he shares advice for aspiring writers, encouraging them to never give up and set doable writing goals. He reflects on the emotional impact of his City Trilogy, which includes City On Fire, City Of Dreams and City In Ruins, as well as the upcoming film adaptation, and concludes by discussing his future plans, including his commitment to fighting against neo-fascism and—on a much lighter note—spending more time with his wife, Jean.

All in all, this will stand out as one of the very finest episodes of The Thriller Zone since I launched the podcast nearly three years ago. I’m your host, David Temple, now let’s meet the man of the hour, my friend Don Winslow here in

To learn more visit: and purchase his book #CityInRuins wherever you buy your books!

* * * * *

00:00 Introduction and Background
02:22 Early Days and Challenges
06:03 The Turning Point
09:25 Dealing with Rejection
13:19 Meeting Shane Salerno
22:57 The Moment of Confidence
26:41 Retirement and Future Plans
32:13 The Publishing Industry Today
35:13 The Evolution of Storytelling
36:10 The Impact of Technology and AI
37:31 The Authenticity of Human Communication
38:29 Advice for Aspiring Writers
40:57 Setting Doable Writing Goals
45:12 The Emotional Impact of the City Trilogy
47:09 Film Adaptation of the City Trilogy
49:32 Austin Butler as Danny in the Film Adaptation
52:51 Overview of the City Trilogy
56:13 The Emotional Impact of the Epilogue
59:05 Reflecting on Gratitude and the Writing Journey
01:04:35 Opening Line and Takeaway for a Writing Class
01:08:10 Future Plans and Priorities

  • Don't give up on your dreams, even in the face of rejection and setbacks.
  • Success often comes after years of hard work and perseverance.
  • Having a supportive partner or mentor can make a significant difference in your career.
  • The publishing industry is evolving, but books and storytelling will always have a place in society. 
  • The storytelling industry has evolved throughout history, with changes in platforms & technology, but the desire for stories remains constant.
  • Artificial intelligence may never be able to replicate the authenticity and emotional impact of human communication in storytelling.
  • Aspiring writers should never give up and set doable writing goals to make progress.
  • The City trilogy by Don Winslow which includes City On Fire, City Of Dreams & City In Ruins, explores timeless themes from classical literature in a modern setting, with a focus on character development and emotional depth.
  • (00:00) -
  • (00:13) - Chapter 2
  • (00:13) - Introduction and Background
  • (02:35) - Early Days and Challenges
  • (06:16) - The Turning Point
  • (09:38) - Dealing with Rejection
  • (13:32) - Meeting Shane Salerno
  • (23:10) - The Moment of Confidence
  • (26:54) - Retirement and Future Plans
  • (33:20) - The Publishing Industry Today
  • (36:20) - The Evolution of Storytelling
  • (37:17) - The Impact of Technology and AI
  • (38:38) - The Authenticity of Human Communication
  • (39:36) - Advice for Aspiring Writers
  • (42:04) - Setting Doable Writing Goals
  • (46:19) - The Emotional Impact of the City Trilogy
  • (48:16) - Film Adaptation of the City Trilogy
  • (50:39) - Austin Butler as Danny in the Film Adaptation
  • (53:58) - Overview of the City Trilogy
  • (57:20) - The Emotional Impact of the Epilogue
  • (01:00:12) - Reflecting on Gratitude and the Writing Journey
  • (01:05:42) - Opening Line and Takeaway for a Writing Class
  • (01:09:17) - Future Plans and Priorities

Award-winning Green Beret, Steve Stratton, is the author of the Shadow Tier Series and the novella, A Warrior's Path: the Lance Bear Wolf Story. Learn more at

What is The Thriller Zone?

Podcast host and thriller author David Temple gives you a front-row seat to the best thriller writers in the world. If you like thriller fiction in Books, Movies, and TV Shows, you’ll love The Thriller Zone Podcast.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (00:00.12)
Welcome to your front row seat to the best thriller writers in the world here on the Thriller Zone. As a child growing up in small town coastal Rhode Island, Don Winslow credits his parents, his father a sailor and mother a librarian, with nurturing his love affair with books. With a life history spanning 70 years, his travels have taken him from South African safaris to Southern China hiking expeditions.

He's photographed wild animals in Kenya, directed Shakespearean actors in England, and consulted court trials in California. And after crafting nearly two dozen books, nearly all of which have won one prestigious award after another, Don is closing the book on his professional life as an author. But not before spending some time with me to discuss the culmination in his Danny Ryan trilogy, which includes City on Fire, City of Dreams, and his latest.

and last City in Ruins. On today's 175th episode, we welcome Don Winslow, number one New York Times bestselling author and someone I'm honored to call friend. Welcome to the Thriller Zone, Don Winslow. Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Temple. You know, it's, you were among, almost three years ago, in June, I sat down, I said, dear self,

If you could get anyone on the podcast, I'm starting out with this, I wasn't going to, but I'm going to. If you can get anyone on the show, who would it be? And I wrote down about five slots. You were number one. Oh man, I'm honored, thank you. And you're now gracing me with appearance number two. You're gracing me with appearance number two, so happy to be here. Thank you. Always, we're buddies and it's good to be here. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I learned early on in my radio career, which you know,

span about three decades that never, I learned early, don't assume that the audience has ever met the guest. A lot of guys don't play it that way. So there are going to be some people listening that don't know who you are. I know that's going to be a shock. Not at all. And I hope it's not a disappointment. It is not. By the way, City in Ruins. I have so many things to say about this. I'm going to start off by saying, wow, which I sent you that text the other morning. Thank you. Very gracious.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (02:22.766)
which I can do better than that, by the way. I'm going to go back like down memory lane and start at the beginning because before you were that New York Times bestselling author that we all know and love, what were those early days like? Cause I know this did not come super easy out of the gate. No, not out of the gate, not out on the first turn, not on the second turn. No, listen, you know, I was, um,

My first book that took me three years to write, because I was traveling all over the world. I was working in England, in Africa, in China, in the United States. I was writing on buses and trains, intense, literally intense, in Buddhist monasteries, climbing these mountains in Western China. So it took me three years to write. And I would try to write five pages a day, usually by hand, by the way. And I had them.

pages like stuffed everywhere. In fact, when a publisher finally did agree to publish it, which was the 16th publisher, I was in Africa and unavailable to put the book together. And my wife and a good friend just searched through briefcases and pockets and closets and assembled the book to send it off to St. Martin's. So the...

Yeah, the first 15 publishers turned it down and I finally got a contract which paid me, I think, $7 ,500 a book, which wasn't going to pay the rent or the mortgage or anything like that. So I was seven published books into my career before I could become a full -time writer. But even then, the word on me was,

You know, Don Winslow is not a bestselling writer. Don Winslow is not an airport author. I mean, people literally said this to me and to Shane Sawerno, you know, my friend and agent. Oh yeah. Right. You know, Don Winslow is not a best seller. Come on, let's be realistic. Let's be realistic. Don Winslow is not this. Don Winslow is not that. Don Winslow is a cult writer. Right. Right. Which is just the kiss of death.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (04:43.374)
Now I wish I'd known where the cult was, you know, because they were not showing up in big numbers. But it was, David, the perfect catch -22, because what the publishers were saying to me was, you're not a bestselling author, therefore they didn't print a big number of books. Well, if you don't print a big number of books per force, you're not going to sell the number of books to become a bestselling author.

because the books don't exist. So you're in this absolute cycle, right? You're not a bestselling author. So only print 5 ,000. Right. Well, you sold 4 ,000. You're not a bestselling author. Oh my God. Right. And I was in that spin cycle for years, you know, um, trying to make a living, trying to gut it out. Um, I'm writing books that are getting awards that are getting, you know,

frankly great reviews, and yet I'm being kept on that certain kind of level, you know, from which you can't break out. And what was going through your head at the time? Were you thinking, okay, well, I'm getting rewards, so there's somebody who is acknowledging the talent, but I'm not getting the push from the publishing. So, you know, it's the old axiom of...

You go in for a job, well, what experience do you have? Well, I don't have any. Well, then I can't give you a job. Well, how can I get experience if you don't give me a job? Which is exactly how my career started. So I mean, what's going through your head? Catch 22, all kinds of things. I mean, depending on the day and the season that you ask the question, you know? I mean, look, I can remember after I wrote a book called The Power of the Dog, I had $37 in the bank, 37, right? I didn't know how to buy groceries that week.

And Jean's looking to you, your wife looking at you and saying... Jean, you know Jean. Yeah, yeah. She's a different breed of cat, right? Yes, yeah. You know, it's a Nebraska farm girl who used to walk through the barn singing to the cows, California here I come. I vividly remember one time walking out of my office after some publisher had told me what I wasn't and...

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (06:59.342)
what wasn't going to happen and movies that weren't being made and all of that kind of thing. And we can talk about all that. And she's digging out in the garden and I gave her whatever piece of bad news it was. I forget which particular piece of bad news it was. And she looked up from, you know, a little shovel and she says, it's all right. I can always get a job at Subway. Yeah. So I never had.

Right. That kind of pressure or a wife telling me you can't be doing this or you can't be doing that. Early, early in my career before I was published. So I guess it was before my career. I came back from China leading one of these hiking trips again, piecing together a living. So broke that I pawned my binoculars, which are the essential tool of a guide. I'm thinking.

And Gene sold her blood. That is nuts. It's nuts. I remember having like $8 and I pawned the binoculars for, I want to say 15. And we bought like pasta and rice and that kind of stuff, you know? And it makes me laugh a bit bitterly. It makes us laugh a little bit because some people who don't know us very well now. Right.

will will snarkily say, you know, oh, she married him for his money. Right. Because obviously she didn't marry me for my looks. And and we kind of go home and laugh, you know, because, you know, if she married me for my money while she was selling blood, it was a pretty foolish decision. Yeah, I'm guessing. You know, so I think some people look at where my career is at now, you know, and they look at the movie deals and the contracts and the

New York Times bestsellers and they think it was always that way. And it's only been, well, I was in my 50s before it was that way. Don't you have a line that something to do with overnight success? Yeah, it was an overnight success. It was an Arctic night. It was an Arctic night. Yeah, I can remember looking at my kid when he's in high school, knowing he's headed.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (09:25.87)
for college, right? And he was a smart kid. And I'd wake up at two or three in the morning and literally vomit from anxiety from how I was gonna pay. Oh my God. You know, for his education. And I don't mean to be whining here. Right. You know, everybody goes through struggles, you know, but I really felt it at that period of time when I was publishing books on a regular basis and they were, you know.

critically acclaimed, that's immodest, but the facts. And yet both New York and Hollywood had me on this level from which I couldn't escape. We talked about the publishing thing, right? That they'd only publish a certain number of books and then blame me for not selling more books than they printed. Right, right. Right? And similarly the same with Hollywood. Hollywood would option my books,

you know, for, you know, not a great amount. And then producers and screenwriters would just feed off them. They'd get their producing fees. They'd get their screenwriting fees and then it never make the movie. Oh, so I felt like this farm, right. From which other people are harvesting the fruit. Right. Yeah. And then saying sayonara. Thanks a lot.

How do you feel about those people now? Do you ever run across, and I know it's been a while, but do you ever run across any of those people now and you can just look at them and go, oh, that was you then? Yeah, kind of. But you know, listen, you can't walk around with that. No. You know, one of my memories though is in that era, you know, I had written Dog. I think I'd written Frankie Machine. Yeah. And I was without an agent. My...

My agent quit, called me up on a Friday at noon and said, yeah, I'm just out of the business. Sayonara. So it had nothing to do with you. It's just, I'm out of the business. I'm done. Yeah. And, um, my dad was very ill at the time and I was flying back and forth from the west coast to the east coast. Cause I was still working as an investigator and a trial consultant. And I had a big case in California, but I was flying back and forth to Rhode Island as my dad got.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (11:50.669)
I was sicker and sicker. And finally, on one of those last trips, my dad passed away and I was flying back to California to get to work and I was supposed to have sent my next manuscript to an agent whose name I won't tell you. And I was late with it and I called him to apologize, you know, because I'd been involved with my dad. And he said,

It's not like we were all waiting at the door for it to come over the transom. Wow. Yeah. Yeah. So you, this is, this is a recurring thing. Oh yeah. I mean, so you'll never make it here. You'll never hit the airports. You'll never have it optioned for movies. So as my listeners who are aspiring writers, they're sitting here thinking, geez, if Don Winslow had that and, and I'm facing some of that.

How long do I have to do this until maybe I can get to even a modicum of that success? Well, let's flip that dynamic. Okay. If I went through all of that and I made it through, so can you. Yeah. Right. You know, let's take the reverse lesson from that. Sure. Okay. Rather than be discouraged by it, let's be encouraged by it. Yeah. You know, because I think that the, if there's a lesson,

I'm not saying that there is one, but if there's a lesson, it's don't give up. Don't give up. Cause you're gonna hear no. You're gonna hear no, but it only takes one yes. Now with me, I mean, the big turning point was the story factory and Shane, you know? And that's a whole other story. Well, I want to drill down that because as you look at all these doors being slammed in your face, I want to know how you met him, when you met him.

what was your initial feeling and what was his initial sense that he had something? I know that's a four part question. It is, and you probably have to ask him about his initial sense, you know, what he thought and what he felt. We had met doing a TV series together back in the day and we kept in touch. We're friends, liked each other a lot, you know, and sometimes I'd call him or we'd be talking and I'd be telling him what was going on with Hollywood. Yeah.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (14:17.389)
And he'd be saying, well, don't option it to this guy for this reason or, oh, they're just doing that, right? Like they might buy a book of mine because a director liked it and they wanted that director to do another film. And as soon as he did that film, they dropped my project. Oh, wow. Whoa. Yeah. Yeah. And so he kept giving me advice and we would keep talking and, you know, things kept going downhill.

You know, Savages, I wrote a book called Savages. Oh yeah. And I sent the first 14 pages, I think, to Shane, because I wrote the first 14 pages in a burst. I mean, literally a couple of hours. Right. And sent it to him with email, with a message saying either I'm crazy, you know, and this is the biggest piece of crap ever, or we're onto something, but I don't have the perspective to know.

And he wrote back within 20 minutes, I think, saying, drop everything else you're doing and finish this book, which I did. And it was instantly sold to Simon and Schuster. A few months later, Simon and Schuster fired that editor who had picked the book up. And once again, I have a book that's an orphan in a publishing house, which is bad news. Yeah. Right. They're not going to promote the book. They're not going to market the book.

Um, that's around the time that Shane and I decided, you know, uh, cause Shane, you know, for those of you who don't know, Shane Salerno is an A -list screenwriter. Yeah. Right. He's written some really big movies. He doesn't need Don Winslow. Right. Or become an agent. Right. Right. Right. Um, but we decided, you know, he said, I think he said one day, you know, why don't we, why don't we do this? Why don't we just do this? Why don't I represent you? And that was the start. That was it? That was. Yeah.

That was the start of the story factory. And do you know we've never had a contract? In Hollywood. In Hollywood. This says a lot about both of you. We had a handshake deal. I don't even know if we shook hands to tell you the truth. That's just an expression, I think. But that level of trust, we've never had a contract, anything like that. We just said, okay, X percent, whatever the standard is, and moved on.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (16:40.749)
You got to stop and give that a second to unpack because having spent three tours of duty in LA, in Hollywood, I realized that that is an anomaly. And that's really amazing. And I have fortunately been able to get a chance to meet, spend time with him on the phone. I've never met him. Don't know what the guy looks like, but we've spoken and he seems like that kind of guy that says, if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it. And I think in the beginning of your...

Dedication was like, Shane did everything he ever said he would. How about that? How about that? Yeah. How about that? Yeah. Rare. Ferocious guy, heart of a lion, you know? And listen, we started a war. We started a rebellion on both coasts. How and why? Well, because I mean, one of the big issues in my career was, again, you're in the catch -22. If you're not selling X number of books, they're not going to put the money behind them to market them. Right.

to advertise all of that kind of thing, right? Right. Okay. So then they again blame you because they have, you haven't sold the books, but you need the advertising and the marketing to do that. Right. So one of the first things that Shane did was get on the horn to the publishers and say, you're going to print X number of books and you're going to spend X number of dollars marketing this.

or I'm taking him somewhere else. That gets attention. And not happy attention. No, no. At first. They're not doing this. They're not applauding. And then he went to the Hollywood people, right? And said similar sorts of things. We're not interested in these options anymore. Those days are over. And this was when Savages was in manuscript form and being orphaned at the publisher, right?

I mean, I think one of the reasons a publisher was the editor was fired is because he bought savages. Uh, and, and said, no, we're going to find a filmmaker and we're going to make the movie. And you got some little known guy who'd really not done much. Yeah. Yeah. Cause Shane gets on the phone with whoever he wants and, and, but he says, right, forget option money. Forget it. We want it.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (19:03.821)
Right? You're going to buy this movie outright. You're going to pay the guy decently and you're going to start shooting within the year or there's no deal. And we go to the next person. So that is such a great story. So Savage's gets made. Yeah. Right. With Oliver. Love that movie. Which was, you know, not an easy process, by the way. I have heard rumors. Right. That started to turn things around. Yeah. You know, and then Cartel. Yeah.

I had quit writing about the Mexican drug trade after Power of the Dog, because it sold like eight copies in the United States. It did well overseas. I have one open book. Is that you? Yeah. Oh, thanks, David. I appreciate that. You know, for a while, man, I felt like a jazz musician. Do you know what I mean? Because I was getting no attention here, selling no books here. And then I'd go to Germany and France and Spain. I literally played basement bars.

in Munich and in Paris, literally did readings in the, you know, in subterranean clubs. Wow. Like a jazz musician. Yes. In Munich and Paris and Barcelona, London, right? And then I'd come back here and, you know, I couldn't get arrested. I did a book signing in Laguna Beach, California with a book.

about Laguna beach, California, which was savages, right? Yeah. Booked for a two hour book signing. Nobody came. No, nobody came at the end of the first hour. It gets worse. The owner left and asked me to lock up. You're not making that up. I'm not making that up. Holy bananas. And being the Irish Catholic boy I am, I sat there.

Of course. And then, you know, shut the door. Follow the rules. Follow the rules and left. And that was not an uncommon story, by the way. You know? And that happened to me several times, not with the owner leaving, but where nobody showed up. You probably want to ask me a question. I'm just. It's your show, baby. So Shane, you know, for a lot of reasons, we did Cartel. Yeah. You know, God bless him. Sonny Metta at Knopf.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (21:29.373)
who I loved and who I mourn. But we saw things a lot differently in terms of the business and who I was commercially and all of that. I think Sunny also had me on that kind of second level at the highest, you know. And Sunny was gonna call that book, The Day of the Dead and put a Mexican death mask on it. And she said, no, it has to be called.

The cartel because I can get journalists interested. I can get TV, I can get the non -literary media to promote it and to do interviews and things. The day it came out, Chapo Guzman escaped from prison. No. And Sonny said at a board meeting at Kanaf that he was suspicious that Shane Salerno had arranged

Guzman's escape.

Well, he is industrious. It's a publicity device. I mean, I think he was half serious, you know. So you go from no New York Times bestsellers to seven, and there's a rumor of eight. It's just a little bird floating around. Yeah. In a row. In a row. Let's stop on that. In a row. Now,

That doesn't happen every day. Last time I checked on, is that right? I mean, last time I checked it hadn't. Yeah. Yeah. So Shane's there from day one. Yeah. Shane's a marketing genius. I just got to say it. I mean, he really, he has something, he is wired somehow in his brain that he sees life differently than everyone else. Do you have those little quiet moments? What, what if I hadn't taken that meeting? What if I hadn't done that? What if I had just, I'm getting to the point about giving up because your hashtag never give up. What if I'd ever just said in Gene's prompt,

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (23:27.117)
Gene could probably say this. Shane maybe have even heard it one time. Maybe everyone's right. Maybe I shouldn't do this. Oh, Shane certainly heard it from me. Heard it from other people, but also heard it from me. Gene heard it from me. I heard it from myself. You know, there were moments when I thought, you know what? I've had the run I'm going to have, and I should be satisfied with it and let it go. I remember saying to Shane one time, and it drives him nuts. He called Gene and said, please,

telling Never to say that again to me, that I said I was happy as a safari guide once and I'll be happy again. I was ready just to go back to Africa and chase leopards around with a camera. Which I was actually pretty good at, by the way. But sure. So somewhere in that question, I am reflecting back to your mom who was a librarian, and I think to myself, she gave you wicked access to all sorts of books, which is...

One thing I love about, we share that our mothers, our mothers were both in libraries, huge passion with books, huge access and huge encouragement to go read everything you can. What kind of life lesson outside of the access to those books did you walk away from her? Cause I know she was so influential. Well, that the world was big and that I could have it. There you go. You know?

I grew up in this little New England fishing town where the expectations of kids was not high. Yeah. But in this little library, which about the size of this room, no bigger, I could be anywhere in the world. And if I slid down one of the aisles, 20 feet, 10 feet, I could be at any time period in the world. The opportunity. Yeah. The opportunity. Having said that,

There were not a lot of people when I was in say junior high or high school saying, yes, you can. Yeah. They were mostly saying, no, you can't. That I think when you, you kind of announce that what you want to be in this life is a novelist and that you're going to make your living at it, you know, people look at you when you're a child and you do that.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (25:44.845)
I think they look at you with that kind of indulgent smile. Yeah. Which even as a kid, you can interpret as no, it's not going to happen. And then a little later in life, you're either openly mocked, right? Or you're always told to have a backup plan. Plan B. Plan B with the intonation that it's going to be plan B. Yeah. Right? Get used to it, honey. Get used to it. Get used to it. You come out of that.

you know, with your dreams and ambitions still the same, but you're already kind of dinged. Yeah. We're going to take a short break and when we come back, we're going to be talking about, oh, among other things, we're going to go back to still a little bit of the eighties, nineties, but we're going to talk about something we probably should get to since we are here. But I mean, you're such a great storyteller. I can't help, but just get completely immersed in it.

So thanks to Blackstone Publishing for being our sponsor today. We're going to take a short break and be right back after this with Don Winslow.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (26:55.001)
And we're back with Don Winslow. I'm trying to think about that moment. There had to be a moment somewhere and bear with me because I know you well enough to know what your immediate response is.

that I'm gonna drill down one inch more. When did that moment come where you said, because you weren't getting the respect you deserved and you are, I read your early work, it is as good as it is today, but somewhere, somehow you went, you know what, Don, you know what, you can do this.

When did you get that sense of like, you know, I think I can do this. Like, I think I've got a real good crack at it.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (27:55.181)
I think if memory serves, David, it was sometime after the cartel. That long? Oh yeah. Wow. Yeah, yeah. I might even push it a little farther up, maybe after a book called The Force. Dude, you gotta be kidding me. No. See, that's what blows my mind. And I know you're not one for melodrama, so I know that that's really in your heart. And The Force still to this day is one of my all -time favorites.

So I say to myself, how do you, and I've asked nearly every author in nearly 200 episodes now, in nearly three years. Congratulations. Thank you. Yeah. Where is that moment, just like I asked you, where you thought, I got this, and every one of them says, man, every single day I wake up going, am I going to be found out this week? Right. I call it the scraping bucket factor.

Is this the day that I lower that bucket into the well and all I hear is the scrape of metal on stone? Wow. Because it's dry. Yeah. Yeah. That's a daily thing. I would be remiss if I did not ask because we know that this particular book is the final one.

How do you think you're going to handle retirement? Don't know yet, not there. You know, don't know. I think I'm going to handle it pretty well. I think it'll look good on you. I think I could be the goat. I think I could be the, you know, the goat of retirement. The goat of retirement, hashtag new t -shirt. Hashtag new t -shirt. But look, you know, I'm not retired yet. No. You know, and I think some of my efforts are shifting. Yeah. You know, more into a political kind of thing, you know, at least through...

next November and you can figure out the math of that yourself. So I'm not there. Yeah. You know, I think David, you know, I'm 70. Yeah. Right. You look good. Well, thank you. Yeah. And, but I think when you write the kind of books I write, they're not easy books. No. You know, 23 years on the drug beat.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (30:16.853)
30 years simultaneously, obviously, on this trilogy. Yeah. And I think that the method that I write in, pun not intended, it resembles the process that a method actor goes through, I think, in making a film or being in a play. I try to get inside the characters. So if you're writing The Power of the Dog and the Cartel and

the force, you know, and doing that research. It has its effect. Brutal. Has its effect. I don't want to be over dramatic about that. And I never, please, ever want to compare myself to Mexican journalists, hundreds of whom have been killed, you know, trying to tell this story. So I'm not that guy. I'm not that hero. Regardless,

it wears you down. And it comes with its own little challenges and potential death threats I've heard through the river. I mean, you can't talk about something that powerful and destructive and be close to being on the nose and not get some kickback. You get a little pushback. Yeah. Maybe pushback's better than kickback. Yeah. As a different intonation. Yeah.

But I would like to take just a second to talk about, because you've referred to it. You've been through a number of publishers. Yeah. So you're going to have, and I know you're a delicate, a very respectful guy, so you're not going to dish dirt, but I want to get your take on the publishing industry today. How you see it today, 2024, to how you saw it a couple of decades ago. And that's, so that's level one, publishing business.

and for people who want to consider getting into the publishing business, being published as a published author, traditional.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (32:20.685)
competition wise, et cetera. Yeah. On the first part of your question, I might not be the best guy to ask, you know, I'll give you an answer, but with this caveat, right? That because I've had an agent like Shane, I haven't dealt much with the business. That has freed me up to just focus on the writing. Yeah. Wow. What a gift that is. Oh, please come on.

You know, we joke about it because sometimes people say to Shane, well, we're going to call Don and he says, well, go ahead. You're all the good that's going to do you. Cause all I'm going to say is, yeah, I asked Shane. Right. Right. People have called up to me, particularly when we first started working together and everybody was mad at us. Right. Right. People were mad at Shane for working with me. They were mad at me for working with Shane. They, you mattered us collectively. And I literally, literally.

had a Hollywood studio guy say to me, the line on the telephone, you'll never work in this town again. I was on the floor, I was rolling around laughing saying, promise, promise. They'd call and say, if you don't get rid of Shane, we're done with you. And they'd call Shane and say similar sorts of things. And people would call me up and complain about Shane. You gotta get rid of Shane, he's too tough. And I'd say,

Well, here's Shane's number, call him and see what he thinks about it. You know, if he wants to fire himself, then we can talk. Yeah. You know, but so to get back to the question you actually asked me, I'm not that aware of the day to day goings on in the publishing business to a certain extent. Of course I am, but, but so much of that I've been spared. Yeah. You know, it's so I can focus on writing.

big books. Well, you were there when it was the big 10, then it was the big seven, then it was the big five. And now it's three. Yeah. Yeah. I don't think publishing knows what it is right now. I think it has a problem of identity, you know, because of what you just referred to, but also because of all the platforms that are out there now. Yeah. You know, I will say this, the book has been declared dead.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (34:44.453)
more often than a mafia godfather, right? You know, I've heard it now forever, right? And it never is. It never is, you know, and I don't think it ever will be. I think that people, human beings love stories. They're always going to want the story. You know, when Bonk and Grock went out and killed a wooly mammoth and the first thing they did,

when they came back to the cave was they told the story of it. And then the second thing they did was they painted the story on the walls, really kind of the first novel. Right. Right. You can see the little pictographs of Bonk and Gronk going out with the spear and then there's the mammoth and then they come back with the mammoth and one, two, three, three act story on a cave wall. And they have a TV series now, don't they? They a TV series, probably many of them. So the platform's going to change.

as it has throughout history, by the way. It's nothing new right now. Yeah. Right? Through history, Gutenberg invents the printing press, right? It changes the way that the stories are delivered, but yet the stories are always delivered. These people always want them. So I think in one form or another, this industry is always going to exist. But right now it is. It's a little bit chaotic.

because of technology and try to figure out who are we now and how do we go about this. And how about we sprinkle in one of the hottest topics of the day, which is AI. Which is AI. And what do you think about that as it pertains to? Listen, I don't think that a computer is ever going to have a soul.

It's working on it. It's working on it, but it's not going to get there. It's not going to get there by definition. Right. Right. And so what I hope is that authors such as myself, again, this is immodest, bring a lot of soul to a book, bring our hearts to a book in a way that artificial intelligence and listen to the words. Yes. Okay. Right.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (37:05.325)
Right? It's like assault rifle. It tells you what it is and what it's meant for. Right. Right in the name. Yeah. Right. Artificial intelligence is by definition, artificial. It's never going to have the legitimacy. The better word is authenticity. I think. There you go. Yeah. Of a human trying to communicate to another human.

Because really the model is to ingest information and then spit out something similar. But back to your point about heart, you can write a heartfelt scene, but the nuance of you did this in this book time and time and time and time again, and especially near the end where, and I consider myself kind of a guy's guy, but I teared up in a couple of places because it reaches in and it -

pulls that heart string and it snaps it. And you, hey, I can't do that. Yeah. You know, I'm, as we know, an extraordinarily macho guy. You are. And, and I, yeah, look at that. And I teared up a couple of times writing this book. And you wrote it. And I wrote it. Yeah. So I don't think that artificial intelligence is ever going to be able to do that. Yeah. Then again, you know, as we've discussed, I'm coming to,

the end of my career. And so it's not something that on a personal level I worry about. Getting to the second part of your question. Boy, you are a good listener. Look, I years interviewed people for a living. I know. Right? Not in this realm, but in the criminal trial realm. What I tell aspiring writers falls into two categories, really. One we've already discussed, never give up.

You have to be almost insanely stubborn to make it in this business. When I was failing at it, which was most of my career, right? I had read somewhere that out of every 10 ,000 people who write writer down on their income tax form as their profession, out of every 10 ,000, one makes a living at it. Wow. Yeah. I read that statistic.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (39:29.261)
Now a normally sane person would give up. Right. I said, I am legitimately and sincerely sorry for the other 9 ,999, but in this life, that's my slot. Good for you. And I'm taking it. Yeah. The other thing that I try to say to aspiring writers is do the doable, right? Because everybody long about January, right? So I'm going to write my book this year.

No, you're not. Not, not if you phrase it that way. And for very good reasons, right? Because, and I remember it well, you have, you're trying to make a living, right? You're trying to pay the rent, the mortgage, put food on the table, buy diapers, whatever it happens to be. Or you have, and or you have relationships and obligations and things, right? That are eating up the time that you would take, otherwise take to write the book.

Mm -hmm. Yeah. So if you put it out, I'm going to write my novel this year, it's not going to happen. And what's going to happen is long around February or March, you're going to look and you have five or six pages and you're going to give up again until you make that promise the next year. So what I try to tell people is don't say you're going to write your book this year, say you're going to write a page on Tuesday. There you go. Right. There you go.

You know, set a goal that's doable, but then do it. Yeah. Right. When I was first, you know, trying to write my first book, which became something called A Cool Breeze on the Underground, I had heard Joe Wambaugh say that when he was a murder cop in LA, he wanted to be a novelist and he decided he was going to write 10 pages a day, no matter what. I heard this on the radio. I was directing a play in England and I heard it on some radio interview and, um,

A few weeks later, I was in Africa sitting in front of a fire with a malaria relapse and amoebic dysentery. I weighed 94 pounds. And I got thinking, I probably should get serious about writing this book. And I remembered what Wambaugh had said. And I thought, I can't do 10 pages a day. That's not going to happen, but I can do five. And so five pages a day, no matter what. And how long?

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (41:55.533)
three years. Where did I hear? Did you say this? That if you wrote only one page a day every day, by the end of the year, you'd have a novel. You have a novel. It's a short one, but you got one. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. 356 manuscript pages is a little short, but basically you have a book. Yeah. One page a day. Yeah. That's why when I hear people go, but I'm so busy, I'm like, Oh, Oh, Oh. Oh, so you don't really want to do it. Oh yeah. I do. Well, no, cause if you did, you would. No, I'll tell you, you know, one thing I learned pretty early in life is, um, people will tell you what they are.

and who they are. You show me where they put their money and their time and that's who they are. Yep. 100%. 100%. 100%. 100%. I primarily define myself as a husband and a father, right? So when I was writing, when my kid was a kid, I never shut the door. Yeah. And if he came into where I was working and wanted to play or want to do whatever, I stopped what I was doing.

That's a good dad. I'll do it later. I'll get up a little earlier tomorrow. I'll stay up a little later tonight to get those five pages done. But if I define myself as a father, this is where I put my time, right? Because look, the world's not going to suffer if Don Winslow writes one less book. Let's get real, right? But the kid would suffer and I would suffer. Yeah.

if I didn't get out there and throw the ball around or go play Star Wars and, you know, kill a hundred star troopers or whatever the hell it was. Right. Yeah. You know, um, and so that was a philosophy that I took and then similarly with writing, you know, if, if you say I'm a writer and we can get back to that definition in a second, if you'd like, while I'm in preachy mood here. Well, this is your specialty. I don't want to get. Yeah.

If you're a writer, it's a verb before it's a noun. Yeah. Right. Writer's right. Right. So I understand as well as anybody, believe me about trying to do this when you're trying to make a living. I get it. Yeah. But write that page a day, write that two pages a day. And the corollary to that though, is this, if you do that, right, if you set that goal and you follow that goal, you're a writer.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (44:21.485)
Yeah, you are. You might not be an author yet, yet, but you're a writer. You're a colleague of mine, colleague of yours. Absolutely have and should have my respect. You're a writer and don't let anybody ever tell you that you're not.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (44:45.453)
I should cue the choir. Now, folks, when you were listening to the comment about Don working, writing, and Thomas comes in and wants to play, the same way that I felt my heart tugged right there is what you get in this book, and you get it time and again. And you're saying, Dave, wait, this is about the mafia in Vegas. And I'm like, well, yeah, that's part of the story.

but there is so much heart in this thing. Oh, thank you. And I was making some notes and I said, so we started with City on Fire, went to City of Dreams and now City in Ruins. And when I read Fire and I was reflecting on this just yesterday as I was making my notes, I remember, oh, City on Fire, I went, oh boy, I knew I was in for a ride. Then, much too long by the way, a year later, roughly, Dreams comes along and I went, oh shit, I didn't see that coming.

And then this one, I'm just trying to be put in witty little phrases. Then I go, oh my, that took my breath away. And it did so because of the complete arc and evolution of Danny. And then just the epilogue is so magnificent. It will stand on a shelf and I should be, no, I mean, seriously, dude.

I think it was Adrian McKinsey and I wish it had been me that said this basically is the godfather of this time. And it is, and maybe even better. I mean, it's, I mean, come on, dude, seriously. And then watch this. So let's bask in that for a moment. Tammy and I were talking and we're, and you know Tammy. Sure. We're like, what?

How would this best show up on the screen? Well, she goes, we love series. Do you think it'd be a three show series? Well, like, well, it'd have to be more than that, honey. But I mean, you could take each one. So each book, so dreams, say seven, eight episodes, and then, you know, fire and ruins. She goes, or what if you just compress them all to make one epic movie? I'm like, oh, there's an idea.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (47:09.485)
And I wouldn't be bothered with a three or four hour movie because it would take at least an hour per book. And then I said, wait a minute, this is silly because Shane's in control and there's no telling where it's going to go. Thoughts? Well, right now it's headed for three feature films. And Austin is going to be... Austin Butler. Is going to play... Danny. Shabang. Shabang. Yeah, look, I was thrilled. It was so weird because I...

Gene and I, and my wife and I had just seen Elvis, the film. Yeah. And look, I loved the film. I could care less about Elvis Presley. I was never a fan. I, you know, didn't really like it. Yeah. And, but, you know, I saw, I heard great things about the film and I watched the film and the film was great. And he was great. Austin. Yes. Was terrific as Elvis Presley or drew me in, into a subject I had no interest in, by the way. That's pretty powerful. Yeah. And then,

A day or so later, Shane calls up and says, uh, Austin Butler for Danny. Yeah. Yes, please. Uh, and then we got on the phone with Austin. That sounds pretentious. So we've got that on the phone with the dude a couple of times, not like, you know, we'd go fishing together, right? Well, you're not calling Mr. Butler. I'm not calling you Mr. Butler. Uh, although I think he started to call me Mr. Winslow. And what did you do? It's that we said, please Don and then felt very old, you know,

There is no truth, by the way, the rumor that they cast Austin Butler because he looks like me. Now I heard that. I know that that makes sense, but it's not the case. But really down -to -earth guy, really smart guy. I think he gets Danny. So I'm really pleased about it. I just finished watching Masters of the Air. He's so beautiful. Holy bananas. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

What you'd expect from those guys. And Austin was great in that. Yeah. So I'm really, really stoked. I'm excited about it. Not to get man crushing on him, but you can't not look at him when he's on screen. He's kind of like Ryan Gosling. He's that charisma. He's got that something that you like. Yeah. I mean, and I'm flashing back to Cary Grant, right? Yeah. You couldn't not look at them. Right. So. Yeah.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (49:32.717)
Yeah. So, no, I'm very excited about it. And then they're talking about making three movies, one of each book. Sure. You know, starting with fire, you know, uh, and, uh, we were going to go location scouting last summer. Uh, and then, uh, you know, I was going to show them around Rhode Island because all the locations are real, uh, and, you know, show them what's what, get them some decent clam chowder and fish and chips and that kind of stuff. And then the strikes, you know, happened. So when's that picked up? It's picked up. Oh.

It's picked up. Meaning the location scales. not sure what I'm allowed to say at this point, but it is moving forward. I will not push very hard. It is moving forward, moving ahead, which I'm delighted about. Here's the last question in that, this is the Tammy conversation. So now we're on the same page, one movie per book. Excellent. Secondly, I said, I know what Don's going to do in retirement.

Slightly tongue in cheek, slightly. I know what he's going to I'm interested to know. I know what he's going to do. He's going to direct. No. No, no. But, and I'm like, well, of course he, she goes, do you think so? I'm like, no, of course he wouldn't. However, Don loves movies. I know a handful of his very favorites. And I'm like, who better, except that is not his, his thing. Right. But as an EP, you can kind of, you know, you can kind of. No. No, he. No.

First of all, David, I believe that I'm the only person in the history of my university to have failed photography twice. No. Yeah. Wait a minute, you failed photography. But then you went to... Twice. Because my 36 exposures of the inside of a lens cap was underappreciated as the dark and brooding vision that it was.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (51:28.429)
Yes, I know where you're headed with this. Yes, I led photographic safaris in Africa. Okay. I agree. But my job then was to get good photographers into a position to take good photographs. That I was very good at. Okay. Okay. I think in my five years of Africa, and I'm not kidding, and I just got back, by the way, I believe I've taken maybe six photographs. It's not my job.

Right, my job is to get that person in position where the animal has light in its eyes. Got it. And that's a lot of work. Got it, yeah. It's a lot of planning, it's a lot of strategy, some luck, you know, but no, I'm a terrible photographer. So the idea of my directing a film would just make people roar with laughter. Okay.

Let's go back to one of my very first comments as I started when I said, because of my career, I learned never to assume that the audience knows. So let's assume that someone's tuning in. I know it's crazy. It is the Thriller Zone who goes, oh, you know, I've heard about this Donkette. I want to read something. And gosh, maybe I'll start with the City trilogy. Yeah. Okay. So.

Could you in your illustrious fashion give me a nice little, because I know you went back to Homer in the classics, but could you give me just a tiny little, hey guys, here's what the three books are and this is how it ends here. Sure. The three books all center around a character named Danny Ryan, although there are lots of other characters. And we followed Danny on an arc through the course of about 30 years.

Beginning with him as a longshoreman slash fisherman slash muscle, minor league player in the Irish mob in Rhode Island, he gets drawn into a losing gang war. Book one. Book two, City of Dreams. He's a refugee. He's a fugitive running with his elderly father and an infant son across the country trying to find a place to put his feet. He ends up in Hollywood.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (53:49.581)
and has a love affair with a Hollywood actress, book three. During the course of book two, he's acquired quite a bit of money in a way we won't discuss. And he invests it and he becomes a casino hotel mogul, a billionaire in Las Vegas, city in ruins. I got the idea when I first started to read the Iliad, Homer's Iliad in my thirties.

And when I read the Iliad and the precipitating events that caused the Trojan War, I was starkly reminded of incidents that had happened in real life in the New England that I grew up in, where the Irish and Italian mobs who were once buddies got into a quarrel over a woman on the beach. 90 % of the Iliad takes place on the beach, by the way.

And it started a war that 10 years later had racked up something like 43 lives. And I went, well, I already know this story. This story I grew up around. Wow. I had left a restaurant when I was 14 years old and two hours later, two guys were gunned down in that restaurant. For real? For real. Wow. I wondered, and the answer's still out, right?

Could I create a contemporary crime epic, a trilogy, that told the stories from the Iliad, the Aeneid, the Odyssey, and some Greek tragic dramas, and have them be fully modern, where you could read them with no knowledge of or reference to the classics whatsoever? Yeah. Which is the way most people have read them. But still take the characters and the stories.

and those eternal themes from the classics. And that's what's so, geez, I don't want to be riddled with cliches, but that's what's so mind blowing about this because mission accomplished. Well, thank you. I hope so. It is a book that I could have easily read in one sitting. I mean, I have gotten pretty fast in my reading for this show, but it's very, very, it's such an easy read. Thanks. So I took three. Okay. I took three settings. Yeah.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (56:13.933)
because when I, I just wanted to savor it. I appreciate it so much. Well, and done a little bit. And this is all sincerity. I'm not blowing smoke. You know me, I don't do that. But I knew I wanted it to last because I knew that was it. There are books I've read like that. I remember reading Jim Harrison's Brown Dog and slowing down as the pages got thinner because I didn't want to leave that world. That's exactly what I did. I mean, the epilogue is just, it will...

I teared up, man. It was just one of those things. I think I part teared up because the story was just so gorgeous by the end and so perfectly crafted. It's one of those stories where you're like, oh, I know where Don's going. I got this. And then you go, oh, okay, well, didn't see that coming, but just powerful. So I always try to boil things down. You know, people ask me constantly for blurbs and I'm like, well,

Do I give you a blur because I'm interviewing you? I don't know. I said, but I always do this as a, as an exercise, like one word. And I'm like, Oh, I know what this is for Don. I'm like, Oh, no, that's not, it's not, it's not right. Oh, I know what it does. Oh, it's not powerful enough. And I came up with it and it's satisfying. And I know that sounds, Oh, really David? Is that kind of like, it was nice? No, it was because it was so thoroughly.

Well, that's really meaningful to me. You know, the talk about that epilogue, right? That was hard to write. That was tough to write. I don't want to give away, you know, the story. But I'm writing that epilogue, David. It wasn't only the being aware that it wasn't only the end of that trilogy, it's the end of my career. Yeah. Yeah. That's why. And so.

And I was looking back at those years of struggle that we talked about. Yeah. Right. And not being there anymore, not being in that place. You know, when I began this trilogy, Thomas was a toddler. Yeah. Right. I was in that struggling place.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (58:38.733)
of hearing you're not this, you're not that, everything that I wasn't, you know? And then I'm writing this epilogue in a place that I don't worry about the mortgage, in I don't have one anymore, right? Where I have had a seven coming on eight, I guess, consecutive bestsellers.

I have had the film deals, I've had this career and this life far bigger and better than I ever dreamed or probably deserve. And so writing that epilogue.

You know, yeah. Powerful, powerful. I could not help but think. Now granted, it's mirroring what you just said. Thomas was a toddler, you started it. Thomas is now a man, professional, married. So when I got to the epilogue, I couldn't help but go.

I know.

I don't know if I should say this or not. I will. When I turn the book in with the epilogue in it, there's a wife.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:00:06.221)
Ian's wife in the book. I guess this is Freudian, but I typed in Gene's name instead of the character's name and didn't realize it until the editor pointed it out. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

Yeah, I'm way too macho to cheer up at that, right? Yeah. Yeah. Dude, I just, I can't even. Anyway. Well.

I told myself I wouldn't go down certain pathways because I think it was it was that moment when I'm like, man, I'm not going to get.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:00:50.285)
We've known each other a while. Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And listen, that's been, you know, one of the great joys of all of this. You know, this ride has been the people, you know, like you, booksellers, you know, that I remember going to very early on a bookstore where I sold one book. Yeah, I remember that. Because the bookstore owner bought it. Was that a poison pen? Yeah. And she had cookies, right? And we needed them.

You know, and I think of the readers and the editors and Shane and you know, all the people, you know, it's, um, writing is famously, but incorrectly considered a soul occupation. You know, something that you do on your own and nothing could be further from the truth. You know, and, uh, no, we think about a self -made man. There's, you know, no such thing.

I start work at 5 30 in the morning, right? I turn the lights on there just to get those lights on there. Thousands of people I'll never meet who made that possible. Exactly. Right. Yeah. You know, for the books to get delivered to the bookstores, there are people working on those roads that I'll never meet that make that possible. Yeah. Nevermind the people that I know and that I've met and you know, that have worked on these books and worked on the marketing and.

And folks like you have been friends, encouragement over the years. And so again, writing an epilogue like that, you look back with tremendous, and this sounds sententious and I don't mean it to, but you look back with gratitude. You're not looking back with like, oh, I had those tough years. So that was, you look back mostly with gratitude.

you know, for all the people and readers, right? Right. You know? Whole reason. Whole reason, the whole reason. Yeah. You know, and without those readers, you know, I'm not sitting here, neither are you, you know? And so I think that you get into sort of this reflective kind of place, you know, to think of all those people, some of whom, you know, aren't with us anymore. Yeah. That...

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:03:18.989)
that contributed to being where I am. Yeah. Yeah. I won't get super modeling. I have to leave something upbeat because it's just the way I do it. Yeah, Let's get out. Yeah. But you're going to be missed. So there you go. We started with, I always wrap my show as you know, wait, what's your best writing device? You've already alluded to that earlier and I knew you would. So I already anticipated it by giving a new close, which is this. I want you to imagine if you will. Yeah.

that you're retired, hypothetically, and that maybe you do something like you're standing in front of a classroom, hypothetically. High school, could be college. They could be paying attention. Maybe not. They might not even know who Don Winslow is. Probably not. Okay. Yep. But it's two -part question, because you know I love those. Yep. After the class settles in. You are the cake and eat it too guy. I am. I like to do both. Yep.

Ask Tammy. After the class settles in, what is your opening line? You've got the audience there. And what is the one takeaway that you want them to commit to?

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:04:35.789)
My opening line would be, I'm here for you.

If it's a writing class, my biggest takeaway is writers write period. The bell rings and they leave. They leave. No. If you ask me, you know, what, what the most important tool is, I'd say there are two of them. Okay. Something to write with the laptop, the tablet, the pen, the pencil, the yellow manuscript pad first, second, an alarm clock to always get you up in there. Yeah. You know,

suit up, show up. Yeah. I think you were one of the first guys I talked to that had that really strict regimen. You're not the first one that did it, but you're the first that really just, for some reason, clicked on my head. I said, well, if Don's doing it, I can do that too. And 530 became the new norm. Yeah. Listen, there's no substitute for time. One, they're not making any more of it. Not last time I checked. Two, we don't know how much of it we have. That is so true. Right.

And I get frustrated with aspiring writers who think that somehow it's Starbucks, right? That they're sitting there having that latte with almond milk and whatever the hell it is. And that somehow a story is gonna creep from the barista up into them or that.

that we walk in fields of flowers while muses land gently on our shoulders and whisper stories into our ears, you know? I had a kid one time doing a favor for a friend who'd done a favor for me. And he had, I don't know, I think it was his girlfriend's son, who, nice guy, aspiring writer, not getting anywhere. And he said, could he come spend a few days with you? And I said, okay, exiled this guy.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:06:36.045)
Kid shows up, nice kid, smart, talented, right? We talk and he's staying over, say, we'll start the next morning. And 5 .30 comes, 6 .30 comes. And I don't expect people to be up and around then, because I'm a little fanatic, fine. Yeah. 7 .30 comes, 8 .30, 9 .30, kids asleep. And he had asked me the night before, how is it you've been able to write so many books?

So around 9 .30 I go into his room where he's still unconscious and I start piling my books onto his body.

The Thriller Zone with David Temple (01:07:13.325)
20 something of them, right? And then I wake him up and I say, you know, last night you asked me how I write so many books. It's because I've been up for four hours. That's how I write so many books. I wish it were more romantic than that, you know, more complicated than that, but it really isn't. No, and it's so funny. People are always asking, and I've certainly caught myself doing this. What's the secret sauce, the magic? Yeah.

But the real secret sauce is just getting your ass in the chair and committing to it. Suit up and show up. Yeah, yeah. I wish there were a secret sauce. That'd be great, wouldn't it? Yeah, you could bottle it. I'd love that. Come on. That'd be great. If I could just get up and open a bottle of that, you know, good. I'll go back to bed or, you know, watch bad TV or something. I'd love that, but it's not. You haven't gotten to retirement yet, so as we close, you don't know what that's going to be like.

I do have a reasonable request or a reasonable question. I think what is, let's pretend that the tour is over and you don't have any commitments to have your manuscript on time. What is the very first thing that pops into your head? You're like, you know, I want to spend more time doing this. Well, listen, I am spending and we'll be spending more time on the fight against what I consider to be a neo -fascist movement in this country. Yes. We're on the brink. Yeah.

And so, you know, for the foreseeable future, I'll spend more time doing that. Okay. In the longterm, you know, more waves. Nice. Longer walks with my wife, read more books.

Yeah. Well, the book is City and Ruins, the third in a trilogy website is donwinslow .com. This has been, this has been so good, Don. For me too. Thank you. I appreciate it. Yeah. Don't look at me like that. All right. That's it.